Everybody hurts: Addiction, drama, and the family in the reality television show intervention

Jason R. Kosovski, Douglas C. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article employs the literature on reality television as well as empirical studies on addiction to analyze Intervention's narrative. We look at the narrative structure of the Intervention's first six seasons (2005-2009), its repeated emphases on the causes of addiction, and the show's purported success rate. Highlighting disturbing discrepancies between the show's representations and assertions versus empirical research, Intervention's notions of what constitutes effective remedies are those treatments generally available only to the financially affluent, and the program's depictions of addiction and intervention practices reinforce a popular culture, rather than a science-based understanding, of the family and of addiction itself.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)852-858
Number of pages7
JournalSubstance Use and Misuse
Issue number7
StatePublished - May 6 2011


  • Johnson Institute Intervention
  • drug addiction
  • reality television
  • stigma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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